It’s hard to talk about space mining without thinking of Bruce Willis striding across an asteroid in Armageddon, and the scientists, engineers and lawyers at the forefront of space exploration know it.
University of NSW School of Mining Engineering research director Serkan Saydam said off-earth mining preparations were underway but Bruce and his hunky team of riggers were misleading.
“It’s definitely not going to happen like in the movie Armageddon and I can guarantee it’s not going to be done by the humans, it’s going to be done by the robots,” Saydam said.
He said asteroid mining would be underway within the next 10 years with mining on Mars within about 50 years. However, the resources collected most likely wouldn’t be sent back to Earth.
“Bringing back the material is not really economical. We’ve got to use it in space,” Saydam said. He cited about two million near-earth asteroids full of iron ore, copper and nickel as initial sites.
He said these resources would most probably be mined and then manufactured into construction material or, in the case of water, turned into a type of rocket fuel.
While mining and manufacture in an inhospitable environment may sound far-fetched, space archaeologist Alice Gorman said we did it all the time in Australia.
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